8 Nifty Windows Folder Tricks You Have to Know

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Look after your folders and they’ll look after you — use these tips to get a head start!

Anyone who uses a computer will likely have to use folders on a daily basis. They’re meant to keep the many files we store on our systems organized, but they can only accomplish that task if they’re used properly.

That puts some pressure on the user — but it’s much easier to keep your folders in order if you’re aware of some tips and tricks to help facilitate the process. Coupled with some useful software utilities and tools, you’ll soon have complete control over your folder hierarchy and all the files neatly placed inside it.

1. Change the Location of User Folders

The easiest way to move a folder from one location to another is a simple drag-and-drop. However, a slip of the hand could leave your important files hidden away somewhere unintended.

Folders related to your Windows user account, like (My) Pictures or (My) Videos, present an even bigger problem. These folders can’t be moved manually; if you removed them, Windows would just recreate them. You have to set a new destination and let the system move these folders.

To do so, right-click the folder you want to move and click Properties, then head to the Location tab. Choose the new home for your files by using the Move… button to select a file path, and then click OK to make sure your changes have been saved.

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move folder

This simple and straightforward way of moving a folder from one location to another is only available for standard folders within your user folder. Moving around system folders flippantly can cause serious disruptions on your computer. Consider what you’re doing before you rearrange things too much, and always keep a handle on what you’ve put where.

2. Know Your Shortcuts

A good grasp of shortcuts will make any task go a little quicker. That’s particularly true when you’re working with folders. Commit these combinations to memory, and you’ll find that they shave a few seconds off your efforts on a regular basis.

If you’re in an Explorer window and want to access the address bar, press ALT + D — this will typically work in your browser, too. If you’re looking to rename a particular folder (or any other file), click on it once and press F2.

Are there folders you use all the time? You can set up a keyboard shortcut purely to open it up. First, find the folder, right-click it, and select Create shortcut. Next, find that shortcut on your Desktop.

shorcut properties

Right-click the shortcut, select Properties, and head to the Shortcut tab on the resulting window. Click on the field titled Shortcut key, and you can choose whatever combination of keys you’d like to have in place to immediately open up the folder at a second’s notice.

3. Keep Your Folders Secret

For all the many features on offer in Windows 10, Microsoft’s flagship operating system still doesn’t offer a simple way to password protect a folder effectively. Thankfully, plenty of third party tools provide that functionality, like the excellent (and free) SecretFolder.

secret folder

SecretFolder works by restricting access to your specified folders — they won’t be visible in Windows File Explorer once you’ve added them to your list. Since the tool is password-protected, only you will be able to open it and remove entries from this list, making them accessible once again. If there are folders on your computer that you’d rather keep away from prying eyes, SecretFolder is an ideal solution.

4. Clamp Down on Empty Folders

There’s no reason for an empty folder to linger around; while it might not take up much storage space, it makes it more difficult for you to look through useful folders at a glance. Empty Folder Finder is a small, portable utility that makes getting rid of these empty folders a breeze.

empty folder finder

Download and run the tool, browse for a Path to Check, set your criteria for the file and folders that are to be found, and hit Go!. Pruning your collection of folders is a big step toward keeping your file hierarchy neat and tidy.

5. Make Your Downloads Folder More Responsive

Ever opened your Downloads folder to find that it loads at a snail’s pace? It’s a problem that plagues many Windows users, and the best way to fix it is by keeping your downloaded files neatly arranged with sub-folders — however, there’s a quick fix that will do the job if you’re looking for something more immediate.

Right-click the Downloads folder and select Properties. Navigate to the Customize tab and use the dropdown menu titled Optimise this folder for to select General Items.

general items

By default, this option is set to Picture, which can slow things up if your Download folder is actually filled with different types of files. Windows will sometimes change this option back automatically, so if things slow down again, you might need to repeat the procedure.

6. Access Advanced Folder Commands

Right-clicking a folder gives you access to a series of commands to open, share, or and files, or access the folder’s properties. Did you know that holding Shift while you right-click brings up some more advanced commands?

advanced commands

Open in new process and Open command window are non standard comments — there’s also the option to Copy as path further down the list. These functions are targeted towards expert users and not something you will need access to on a regular basis, but now you know.

7. Re-open a Recently Closed Folder

It’s frustrating when you close a window without meaning to — but at least when it happens in your web browser, you can use a keyboard shortcut like CTRL + SHIFT + T to bring a closed tab back. There’s no such shortcut for File Explorer, but you can gain access to very similar functionality with a piece of free software called UndoClose.

UndoClose is a portable program, that runs directly from your desktop or a USB stick. However, it does require the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0, so make sure that you have that installed before trying to use it.

Download UndoClose and extract the .zip file. Open UndoClose.exe and you should find that an icon appears in your System Tray.

undoclose

Click on that button, and you’ll be able to set up a keyboard shortcut to quickly re-open the last folder window that was closed — you can do the same for the last app you closed, too. You’ll also be given access to a list of recently closed folders in case there’s more than one that you need to access again.

8. Enable Windows God Mode

Want easy access to some of the most useful troubleshooting resources for Windows in one easy location? You should take a few seconds to make a “God Mode” folder.

Named for the common video game cheat code, this otherwise unassuming folder will fast-track any troubleshooting you might need to accomplish on your PC. To create it, make a new folder somewhere sensible and name it GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} — you can sub out “GodMode” for whatever name you think is appropriate.

god mode

You’ll be presented with a folder filled with links to a bevy of Control Panel functionality and more, all assembled in one easy place. If you’re the sort of person who’s often asked for help fixing other people’s systems, you’ll definitely want to be able to create a “God Mode” folder to speed up the process.

Do you have a tip on working with folders in Windows? Are you struggling with a particular problem and looking for assistance? Join the conversation in the comments section below!

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